Beginner's Guide to Modern Calligraphy: How to prepare your nibs

Beginner's Guide to Modern Calligraphy: How To Prepare Your Nibs


When beginning to practice modern calligraphy, you will find there is a plethora of pointed nibs that you can experiment with (the name is minutely etched into the nib's shank, so look closely!). At Quill, we love the Nikko G nib as it is sturdy, flexible and reliable. Before you start practising, however, it is really important to prepare your nib, otherwise you may find it difficult to write with as it will not hold ink very well. This is because new nibs have an oily coating on them which prevents them from rusting or sticking together, and you'll need to remove this before you start using your nib.

There are several ways to do this, but below are our favourites:

- Try soaking your nib in some hot water with a little drop of washing-up liquid for ten minutes this should combat the oily coating. Drying the nib with some kitchen towel will help work off the residue, and you could even try a toothbrush for a more thorough scrub!

- Scrubbing your nib with some toothpaste also works - the bristles from a toothbrush will help lift off the oil. Make sure to wash the toothpaste off afterwards before dipping your nib in the ink!

- You can also try passing the writing end of your nib quickly through a flame (from a match or a lighter) - be careful though, and don't let the nib get too hot!

- You could try preparing your new nib by sticking it into the flesh of a potato for ten minutes or so! (Don't let it sit in there for too long or your nib may start to rust.)

For more tips, tricks and techniques pick up a copy of our book, 'Modern Calligraphy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering the Art of Creativity' written by our studio calligrapher, Lucy. You can also find it in our London shop: 37 Amwell Street, EC1R 1UR.